Recently travelled to Nashville, Tenn., and visited a terrific independent bookstore, Davis-Kidd Booksellers at the Mall at Green Hills. After settling my girls in with I Spy and American Girls, I scoured the cookbook, fiction and general non-fiction sections plus the outstanding remainder selection and came away with some excellent finds:
1. "All-American Dessert Book" by Nancy Baggett. Very clear, concise recipes and nice photographs. $12.99.
2. "BHG New Baking Book." I'm a sucker for ring-bound books. Besides, it was $8.50. I tried a recipe for Peanut Butter-Chocolate Pudding Cake that tasted ok, but looked like a New York street in need of repair. I'm still spelunking for hidden treasure here.
3. "Cornbread Gospels" by Crescent Dragonwagon. I treasure Dairy Hollow House Soup and Bread, so I'm looking forward to digging out the golden nuggets in this.
4. "BHG Fast-Fix Family Food." OK, it's got more than a few processed ingredients, but I was lured in the by the flashy graphics and promises of kid-friendly food. It's enjoyable to peruse, and maybe my 9 year old will like it better than the Rachael Ray Cooking Rocks! book, which I find to be perfectly anoying.
5. "The Splendid Table" by Lynne Rosetto Kosper. For $12.99. Lovely and transporting. There's an almond pasta that sounds doable for my crew. Even if I don't cook from it, I'm enjoying the read.
6. Ann Patchett's itsy-bitsy inspirational title "What Now?" I've been a fan since "Patron Saint of Liars" and I thought "Truth & Beauty" was just about a perfect memoir.
7. Lee Smith's "On Agate Hill." While the girls were being sweet in the store, I read the author's essay in the back of the book about how she wrote this book after the sudden death of her son. Just reading the anguish of a mom burying her child and trying to make sense of that made me want to read the fiction that came out of the experience.